Plymouth Albion left hanging on for win after almost throwing away 18-point lead
Plymouth Albion coach Nat Saumi had mixed feelings after Friday’s 24-20 Championship home win over London Scottish at a wet Brickfields.
Saumi was delighted his team had managed to return to winning ways after a five-match losing run, but he was not happy his side nearly blew a dominant position for a third week running.
Albion were 21-3 up at half-time against Scottish thanks to tries by Tom Bowen and Sean-Michael Stephen and 11 points from the boot of Paul Roberts, but then somehow nearly threw the game away in the second period with Scottish scoring tries through Jim Thompson and Mark Irish.
Having seen Albion let leads slips against Nottingham and Jersey in their previous two fixtures, the home fans were rightly nervous as Scottish launched a last-gasp attack on Plymouth’s line.
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However, Albion hung on to claim the four points that keep them in the top half of the table. Had they lost, Albion would have fallen into the bottom five.
Saumi said: “That win’s been a long time coming. I was so pleased and happy for the boys because of the effort they put in.
“We got the win we wanted and we should be happy with that, but we could have lost it also and so the players have to be reminded about that.
“I think a bit of complacency crept in second half.
“You are 18 points ahead in wet conditions, but the boys did not really get the game plan going in the first 20 minutes [of the second half] and then we put ourselves under massive pressure.
“We were supposed to be playing for territory but we started playing in our own half and it very nearly cost us.”
Scottish, who like Albion went into Friday night’s match in poor form, did pick up a valuable away bonus point.
“It was a good effort by London Scottish,” said Saumi. “They deserved that bonus point because they kept working hard and they nearly came up with a win. I think they’ll be glad of the point.
“But, like I said, for us complacency crept up, you could tell by the body language. That is human nature, but it ended up so close. We were very lucky.”
Saumi says his team still need to improve their game management after three weeks of allowing teams to come back. “I have reminded the players again,” he said. “They have to know how to manage a game. They are learning that the hard way. I was just glad we managed to get through with a win, but it can’t keep going on every time. I hope they will get it right the next time.
“The boys have to learn quickly and make themselves familiar with the type of game we are playing. Every player has to be on their toes for 80 minutes. You can’t just play for 40 minutes.”